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White House Looks To Diversify Race Dialogue

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Dec. 2) -- As the White House readies for its first town meeting on race Wednesday in Ohio, President Bill Clinton is looking to add more conservative voices to his year-long dialogue on race to diversify the views now represented.

Clinton's racial initiative and advisory board have faced growing criticism that the discussions are too one-sided.

Christopher Edley, a Harvard law professor who serves as an advisor to the board, warned the effort to improve race relations in this country can only fail if views that oppose the president's are not heard.

"Ask a mayor or a school board member struggling with a racially divided community. They don't need platitudes. They need solid advice," Edley told The Associated Press.

"There's a great tendency in all of this to try to focus on areas where we are most likely to find common ground," Edley said. "If that becomes a preoccupation, then the initiative will not succeed."

Edley brought up these concerns with the White House. He said that the president and vice president agreed with his suggestion that more conservative-minded representatives join the board.

"I've always detected more boldness and ambition from the president and vice president than from many of their advisors," Edley said.

White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry said participants in the Akron, Ohio, town meeting were chosen on recommendations from a university and local officials, and there was no deliberate effort to keep out representatives who have differing opinions from Clinton.

"He will hear a range of viewpoints and then discuss his own views in a format that will allow, I think, some lively exchanges," McCurry said.

McCurry said a White House session is in the works for later this month. People who represent a large spectrum of conservative ideas will attend, he said.

In Other News:

Tuesday Dec. 2, 1997

Reno Decides 'No' On Independent Counsel
Republicans Blast Reno's Decision
White House Looks To Diversify Race Dialogue

E-Mail From Washington:
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